Monday, November 30, 2009

Utica College cuts 14 positions

The CNY Business Journal reported that Utica College had to cut $1.3 million from its 2009-2010 budget, and had to cut 14 jobs to do so.

According to the letter, signed by college President Todd Hutton, the school "encountered a new set of financial circumstances that exacerbate an already difficult financial situation."

As a result, the college eliminated 11 full-time and three part-time positions. The school informed 10 individuals their positions were eliminated or offered them early retirement and reassigned one person to another office.

In other steps to cut costs, the college reduced the base salary for members of the president's cabinet, canceled the search for an in-house attorney, and put some elements of its plan to invest in programs on hold or canceled them altogether. Read more here.

The Genesis Group: Meeting Updates

Join us this Saturday December 5th for the Annual Genesis Holiday Social & Utica College Hockey Game

5:00pm at Hotel Utica, complimentary food, cash bar and complimentary game ticket
7:00pm at Utica Auditorium, Utica College Hockey Game

ALL ARE WELCOME - Genesis friends, supporters, volunteers and their families, kids too.
For Reservations, contact Ray Durso, Jr., by calling 792.7187 or by email,

  • The Genesis Community Connections & Discovery Tours Committee will meet on Wednesday December 2nd - 7:30am at Raspberries Cafe, Genesee St Utica
  • The Genesis Healthcare Committee will meet on Wednesday December 9th - 12:00pm at Prudential Carucci Real Estate
  • The Genesis Technology Committee will meet on Wednesday December 9th - 5:00pm at Tiny's Grill, State Street Utica

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NY State Council on the Arts Announces Important Changes for Fiscal Year 2011

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the holiday season and the end of another year, I want to take a moment to update you on some important changes that are taking place here at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

In Fiscal Year 2011 (calendar year 2010), we will implement a series of changes to NYSCA’s annual application calendar in an effort to further improve our grantmaking process and better serve New York’s cultural community. As a result, a number of important deadlines, including the close of registration, will now shift to earlier points in the calendar year. Given these changes, it is tremendously important that you take careful note of NYSCA’s FY11 calendar, provided below. Please pay particular attention to NYSCA’s registration deadline (January 22, 2010) and first application deadline (February 17, 2010).

I also want to take this opportunity to update you on the latest news regarding NYSCA and the New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP). As you know, NYSCA has been working with a Taskforce of funders and arts organizations throughout the past year to help launch CDP in New York State. Now, NYSCA is prepared to accept CDP Data Profiles as a part of the FY11 grant application process.

The use of CDP will be optional for NYSCA applicants in FY11, but will be required of all applicants in FY12. However, we want to encourage all organizations to begin using this powerful online tool today. To that end, applicants who have completed a CDP Data Profile before NYSCA’s first FY11 application deadline (February 17, 2010) will be able to submit the Data Profile as a substitute for NYSCA’s three-year “Organizational Budget”.

To find out more about CDP, review the information below and visit

If you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to contact a staff person in your funding program so that you can work together to address your concerns.

Heather Hitchens
Executive Director

•December 15, 2009
FY11 Application Guidelines Available
•January 4, 2010
Registration Opens
•January 22, 2010
Registration Closes
•February 17, 2010
1st Application Deadline
•February 17, 2010
CDP Data Profile Completion Deadline (optional in FY11—see below)
•April 12, 2010
2nd Application Deadline

Friday, November 27, 2009

Des Moines nonprofits face $715,000 in budget cuts

Nonprofits across the US are facing major challenges. This article relates twenty Des Moines nonprofit programs that provide housing, food, health care and assistance to domestic violence victims could lose more than $715,000 in combined government aid as part of efforts to relieve stress on the city budget.

The city of Des Moines has used federal Housing and Urban Development money to partially support the nonprofit programs. But City Manager Rick Clark has recommended that the money be spent on code enforcement, community centers and neighborhood revitalization initiatives beginning in 2011.

In the past, the code enforcement, community center and neighborhood work has been partly financed with city property tax revenues, but general fund shortfalls of roughly $11 million over the next two budget cycles necessitate use of the federal money, Clark said.

The impact on nonprofits will vary, but 14 will lose more than 10 percent of their operating budget, with two nonprofits losing more than 70 percent of their revenue. Read more here.

Many cities and counties across the US are making similiar decisions. How should nonprofits respond? Are there other choices?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nonprofit Comes Under Scrutiny

With the recent articles in the Utica O-D about the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, nonprofits and their boards need to be clearly aware of the impact of their decisions and how they might be perceived by the communtiy and media. Here are a couple of the recent articles, linked below. Have your own feedback or input on this issue? Share it here.

1.FROM THE ARCHIVES: Contracts went to leaders' firms
In a March 29, 2009, article, the O-D detailed how the Central Association for the Blind gave substantial contracts to companies owned by key figures at the nonprofit agency.

2. State seeks records on Association for the Blind's contracts
The state Attorney General’s Office has launched an investigation into the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, focusing on whether fraudulent practices or illegal acts might have occurred there.

3. Association paid ex-president for consulting services
The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired continued to do work last year with companies that have ties to key figures at the nonprofit, 2008 federal tax filings show.

Friday, November 20, 2009

December 9th Program Meeting Announced: Register Now

Presented by David Moynihan, President of the NYS Society of CPAs
David Moynihan, president of the New York State Society of CPAs, will offer a program on Wed, December 9th at 1pm on the importance of quality audits and improving the audit process. David’s presentation includes best practices in procuring an auditor, auditor-client communication, and getting the most out of an audit. This is not a highly technical presentation—rather, it focuses on management’s ethical responsibility during the audit process.

David Moynihan, CPA is President of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA). Moynihan is the partner in charge of the audit and attest group at Testone, Marshall & Discenza LLP.

Moynihan has been a NYSSCPA member since 1982 He is chair of the NYSSCPA Peer Review committee, vice chair of its Political Action committee and past president of its Syracuse Chapter.

Moynihan is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and received its certificate of achievement in Governmental and Non-Profit Accounting and Auditing. He is also a member of the AICPA Peer Review Board and is on the Central Region Council of the New York State Government Finance Officers Association.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Spanish Action League of Syracuse, finance chair of St. Patrick’s Church and treasurer of Partners for Education and Business.
He is a graduate of LeMoyne College with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

About the NYSSCPA
Representing 29,000 CPAs, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) is the oldest state accounting organization in the nation, celebrating its 110th anniversary this year.

Incorporated in 1897, the Society is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to establish and maintain high standards of integrity, honor, and character among certified public accountants. Its members are CPAs working in public practice, industry, government and education in a state that serves as the home of Wall Street and major financial institutions.

The New York State Society of CPAs is located at 3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016. To learn more about the Society call 800-633-6320 or visit the Society’s website at

Date: Wed, Decemember 9th 2009
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Cost: To be announced (if held at restaurant)
Location: To be announced


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Strategic Management in Tough Times Recap

Almost 30 participants attended Strategic Management in Tough Times offered by NY Council of Nonprofit's CEO Doug Sauer on the November 10th. The discussion centered around how nonprofits can better plan and respond to the current economic challenges faced. There was a group dialogue and Executive Directors shared their feedback about the status of their organization. They discussed how they've been impacted by the downturn; strategic planning concepts in the recessionary environment; and strategies and their implications for developing a Short-Term Strategic Action Plan. There a number of video clips from the program available here. Below you will also find feedback from the evaluations collected.

At the program, an evaluation also asked participants for ideas for future trainings as we look ahead to 2010. Here is the quick list:
  • Managing leadership anxiety- leadership wellness- succession planning- board and executive director leading the agency together.
  • Specifically how to get strategic planning done.
  • Educational session for board members- topic: roles and responsibilities as a board member
  • Perhaps: fiduciary responsibilities for board members. A primer on fundraising for your organization.
  • Opportunities in this area for sharing back office operations.
  • I'd still like to see the creation of a "training swap" service among us- so we can train staff and volunteers together or swap expertise.
  • Communication regarding possible changes, which instill sight of opportunity and decrease fear.
  • More emphasis in Board training and dynamics
  • Managing staff, conflict resolution
  • Collaboration with other similar n/p to save money.
  • Successful entrepreneurial ventures
  • More applied to practical application beyond planning. Hold one on ones instead of doing one on one with 30 others.
  • one specifically on relationship between ED and board- maintaining open, productive communcation
  • Succession planning
  • Sharing services.
  • How to identify and foster possible partnerships- types of contracts, overcoming autonomy issues; board development- duties and responsibilities

Have other ideas, share them here. Other feedback from the program that may be helpful to other directors were the answers to the following two questions below. See a couple of the answers, or share your own.

How have the changing economic conditions impacted your organization this year?
  • Be more clear on mission and core activities right now financially ok. Asking questions on whatever can do for future- set strategies
  • We must now consider trimming staff costs.
  • Some services that both funder and provider agree are needed, not provided
  • Decrease services, elminating services
  • Sense of insecurity regarding funding, although funding is still ok
  • Cuts in funding, lower utilization of fee for service
  • Not everything rosy but not really affecting us
  • We are preparing a new business plan with a 3-5 year look. We are also doing a profit and loss plan.
  • Lay off of staff (1.5 out of 12); cut back on volunteer training, increase energy on fee for service activities.

How do you see the economy and possible cuts in government funding impacting your agency next year?

  • We receive little government funding- fee for service is unclear. Agency ready for growth and there will not be additional funding to seek.
  • If we lose gov't funding, we will need to consider cutting jobs and possibly programming.
    1st step might be reduced or no compensation increases for staff, which exacerbates an already hardy turnover problem. Reduction of services next step.
  • Further service cuts, re-analyze each service line and be more efficient
  • The arts continue to be funded on national level (NEA) which also subsidizes state art, so am continously optimistic
  • We are planning on less government funding and working on 5 new fundraisers.
  • Further staff cuts. It's the only thing left we can cut! This means reduced ability to supervise volunteers, therefore we will serve less people. In doing so, we'll be saved for the "most difficult cases" and our outcomes will look different too.
  • We will need to continue reviewing all expenses and development
  • Possible staff lay-offs; outsourcing some services and consolidating others. Increasing fees for services.
  • We are looking for new grants.
  • When NYS holds grant $ so they can get additional interest, it costs us $. Should be illegal for them to do so.
  • Services have been meticulous reviewed for viability and some positions will need to be cut as we do not even plan on stable fudning in 2010 and 2011.
  • Staff layoff, salary freeze

Have comments or additional thoughts? E-mail us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Economic Rescue Package Includes Help for Charities

As part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a two-year extension of Charitable IRA legislation, making it easier for Americans to give to causes they care about. The Charitable IRA provision, first enacted for 2006 and 2007, has the power to help local charities weather the current economic crisis. The extension goes through 2009.

In these financially turbulent times, millions of Americans continue to save pre-tax dollars in individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Thanks to regular investments and long-term returns, an estimated $4.7 trillion is invested in IRAs. The new law allows taxpayers 70 ½ and older to give retirement savings directly to charity, bypassing income tax to themselves or to their beneficiaries. The tax benefit expires December 31, 2009.

“It is a win-win—for people who would rather give to charity than pay taxes and for the nonprofit organizations they choose to support,” said Peggy O’Shea, president & CEO of The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc.

“For larger estates, a good portion of IRA wealth goes to estate taxes and income taxes of beneficiaries,” O’Shea said. “Experts estimate heirs may receive less than 50% of IRA assets that pass through estates.” Read more here.